December 30, 2014 10:09
Seoul on Monday proposed talks to North Korea to "discuss matters of mutual concern" in January.
Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae announced the proposal in a press briefing at the government complex in Seoul. It was sent in the name of the presidential preparatory committee on reunification, a joint government-civilian committee set up in July.
"I sent a message today to Kim Yang-gon, director of North Korea's United Front Department," Ryoo said. "I hope to meet North Korean officials in Seoul or Pyongyang or a mutually agreed place."
The government is apparently trying to diversify dialogue channels by also drawing in the committee and to take the initiative in cross-border relations.
Ryoo did not specify the agenda. "We'll discuss what the two Koreas can and should do on the 70th anniversary of independence and national division next year. We can talk about matters of mutual interest," he said. "I'm not suggesting any specific topics."
But he implied that reunions of families separated by the Korean War would be a major point. "I hope we'll be able to help the separated families resolve their sorrow before Lunar New Year's Day," Ryoo added.
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